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What Wasn't Discussed by Cook at WWDC

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WWDC's keynote with Tim Cook and company has come and gone, and what is striking is not what was announced, but what was not announced. A new version of Mac OS and iOS is always to be expected at WWDC. WWDC is when and where developers go to learn direct from the source. I've attended a few times and it's been a great way to learn about new frameworks and tools. It's a no brainer that Apple would use that venue to reveal the next generation of their mobile and computer-based operating systems. But Apple usually has one or two hardware announcements at WWDC. With a captive audience of 5,000-plus Apple computer owners, plus countless more watching the live stream, it's a great opportunity to sell hardware. Maybe not a new phone but usually there is a refreshed or all new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, or the Mac Pro or Mac mini.  Last year it was the dramatically redesigned cylindrical Mac Pro. Before that it was the MacBook Pro Retina. After all, in a crowded room, it's likely that someone is celebrating a birthday that week. So, with such a broad product line from Apple, there is always some device ready to be updated.



App Store Cuts Weed-Growing Game, Is Okay with Violent Shooting Crime-Themed Games

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Apple is an American success story. And 'merica is all about freedom. Free Speech. Free Press. Freedom of Religion. Even Freedom Fries. Lately, that includes the freedom to smoke marijuana in a few states. Mind you, drugs have never been for me, nor are games that glorify drug dealing, but they exist and give people a (vicarious?) glimpse into the underworld that is the illegal narcotics business. Breaking Bad made a ton of legitimate money off illegitimate activities. Likewise for The Sopranos or The Godfather. I love those movies and TV shows, and would hate to have had some censor decide not to let me watch them.



Honestly, I Want to See Microsoft be Brave

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As much as I love Apple, I like what Microsoft is trying to do. But, heaven help me, I can't stand their commercials. "Honestly" starts each actor's fake testimonial. As if it wasn't obvious that these are primarily actors (except Seattle Seahawks player Russell Wilson) reading someone else's lines, by using the same words and format, Microsoft is being phony from the beginning in commercials that start and end with the word "Honestly." It insults the intelligence of the audience. Not to mention the valid charges of sexism. Interestingly, when searching using Yahoo (powered by Microsoft's Bing) none of the negative articles about the commercials show up, but under Google, they do. Whose search engine is being honest, now?



Game Centered Retro-Edition: 5 Classic iOS Games I Can't Quit Playing!

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I love video games, which is convenient since I play a lot of them as I research my Game Centered column. Typically Game Centered focuses on breaking iOS-related game news and new releases, but in this special edition I'm going retro, with a Top 5 roundup of some of my old favorite iOS games. The following are enduring classics which still occupy precious space on my iDevices, and in my gamer’s heart.



Apple News: iTunes Gets Updated, Is Still an Unwieldy Beast of an App

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The hulking beast of an app that is iTunes has been updated. This has nothing to do with Apple's expected acquisition of Beats, instead iTunes 11.2 primarily adds enhancements for podcasts. If you subscribe to a lot of podcasts, iTunes will now let you automatically delete them as they are listened to, which will help free up space. To demonstrate just how big iTunes has become, the latest version requires 400MB. That's almost half a gigabyte of space! These days, iTunes does much more than handle music, podcasts, or even movies.  iTunes is also responsible for browsing the mobile app store from a desktop computer. Apple has a separate Mac OS App Store app for browsing Mac apps.



What I played this week: Games...!

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I'm trying to get back in the WIPTW swing again, and I found three relative newcomers to iOS that are refreshingly original and mostly free! Tales of Honor (free) is a space strategy and time management game that represents the honor universe well. Arena of Heroes (free) is a turn-based MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) that pits you against a computerized component or other ranked players in a pitched battle of warrior and magic-using archetypes. Uber Racer 3D Monster Truck Nightmare ($0.99)—yes that is the name, and I can't believe it did not overflow an App Sstore field buffer or set off an alarm or something—is a Mad Max-style crash and dash game, thrusting you in the seat of a monster truck during the last days on earth (or something like that). Let us proceed to the reviews shall we?



Apple News: A Tale of Two Megacorporations

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For an interesting take on how two massively successful corporations operate, just take a look at Microsoft and Amazon. Both companies offer apps that rely upon users buying a subscription. When Microsoft released their Office suite for the iPad, they made it free, but users needed to buy an Office 365 subscription to access premium features. Amazon just bought the comic book reading app Comixology which also lets users buy and subscribe to new comic releases using the app. This is where the similarities end. 



Game Centered: Featuring 3 Hot New Titles To Get Your Blood Pumping!

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a closer look at a select few worthy of special recognition. This week we'll take a look at some of the newest fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled action games to hit the Apple App Store.



SwiftKey Notes Practically Does the Typing for You

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I have migrated much of my work to the iPad where possible. I still have to use a MacBook to develop apps and for serious Photoshop and video work. But more and more I find myself using apps on my iPad to perform my daily tasks, especially writing. Alas, the virtual keyboard presents its own set of challenges. SwiftKey has turned those challenges into an advantage. A traditional keyboard can't really change. Sure, you can set the Caps Lock, or hold down the Shift or Option keys to get different results. But SwiftKey leverages the virtual nature of the onscreen keyboard by offering AutoCorrect and presenting word suggestions directly above the keys, as you type.



Gear Review: Get Your Entertainment System Under Control with Blumoo!

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If you have an entertainment center, then likely you have a TV, Blu-ray player, stereo receiver, CD, DVR, and so forth. You probably also have a big old pile of remote controls to go with all that gear! If you want to tame that unruly mob of of gadgets, get a Blumoo ($89.99), and make that boatload of remotes disappear for good! This was one of several CES gadgets that I have been eagerly awaiting to come to market.



Best iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, iPod Touch Apps | iPhone Life Magazine

We review the Best iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, and iPod Touch Apps.  Whether you want to play a game (like Chillingham Manor), navigate with GPS, or discover new apps, you can easily get lost.  There are so many on the market and the number is increasing on a daily basis.  So where to begin?  The following examples are just a few of what is out there.

The Head Finder is one of the iPhone apps around. It is a task management or schedule management that helps you organize all the different things you have to do.  It has a very simple user interface and it seems they designed all the most common functions to be done with as little tapping and typing as possible which is a real time saver.  Several time management apps, in the past, have seemed to waste more time entering events and tasks into the app than you might save by being more organized.  With Head Finder you can have a new task entered in less than thirty seconds with their quick three tap process to create a reminder.

Another one of the best Iphone apps we've seen is The JumiCam. This app allows you to view streaming video from any web cam you want with ease.  It's easy to set up the software on your PC and then connect your phone to see what's going on at your house.  The JumiCam also works very well on either a 3G connection or WiFi. This app allows you to connect to as many different web cams as you want so you can monitor your entire house while you're away if you want.  It can really take the place of an entire security service if you wanted it to.  There are many ways to use this, from keeping an eye on a babysitter while you're out on a date to making sure your pet is safe at home while you're at work.

As the name describes, U.S. Traveller is made for travelers that call the United States their home and travel to countries outside their own. In opening the iPhone app, on the "Countries" tab, you are presented with a list of countries & their correlating flags. The added flags next to the country names are a nice touch, especially since most people can quickly find a country based on visual representation versus textual representation. You can travel from the U.S. to numerous countries - Chile, Argentina, Germany & Italy to name a few. This may not adequately prepare you for the countries you visit, but this will for sure help you. The amount of information and the ease of access it gives to people is incredibly invaluable.